Culture Shock at Kota Bharu, Kelantan

For those who are borned and raised in Klang Valley but yet to explore the state of Kelantan, the word ‘Kelantan’ may conjure the thought of ‘PAS, religious bigot, extremist, Hudud/Syariah law’, and the list goes on.

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Kelantan is a state governed by Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), the largest party outside the country’s ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.

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Surely those in Klang Valley may have heard many horror stories played out by the local media involving the activities of the religious extremists in that state. Bigotry seems to be a norm in Malaysia, especially in Klang Valley as the unwholesome culture is openly displayed at the political landscape.

Day and night the locals are bombarded with racist or insensitive religious remarks made by certain representatives of Barisan Nasional (BN), the major political party in Malaysia or the extremist factions of the community that breeds more bigots, irrational fear, suspicion and hatred among Malaysians and even towards the state of Kelantan. Race aside, the ‘halal’ factor of the majority’s religion is another element of division for Malaysians.

Oh, what a miserable life we are living! Therefore it’s no laughing matter to say, it is RARE to witness the majority race making conscious choices in their daily lives to dine at eateries served by the non-Muslims. The trip to Kota Bharu-Kelantan has opened my eyes to see the rarest occasion ever witness for the very first time.

‘Rakyat’ lived in Unity

Our first stop at Sun Hua Restaurant left me literally jaw-dropped! Muslim patrons of young and old, single or family dropped by for lunch at the place.

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Yes, it is a Chinese owned eatery with a Chinese ‘tauke’ (means shop owner, in Chinese) sitting at the cashier counter and with the occasional sight of a few Malay workers serving patrons or cleaning the tables. I couldn’t believe my eyes so I took a glimpse at the kitchen, there I saw two Malay ‘makcik’ (means aunties, in Malay) cooking and preparing food. No sight of pork in the menu or on the display. I was in awe of the culture here. The years of mutual trust and respect among races have taken root in the society of this community. It’s a beautiful sight that will stay close to my heart. The scenario repeated even when we were dining at Ann Loke Cafe but with a Chinese cook preparing food at the shop.

Jawi Alphabets are Everywhere

The language ‘Jawi‘ is part and parcel of their lives. It is visible everywhere in the public vicinity – road signs, shop front and more. Below are some photos taken at KB Mall.

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These sightings and experiences are rare or even non-existence in Klang Valley, therefore it is truly made in Kelantan!

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